The victory for homeless and very low-income transit riders is a reminder of the importance of grassroots organizing.
Last year, organizations in King County provided more than 1.4 million Metro tickets to homeless people, refugees, and other low-income people struggling to afford trips to shelters, job centers, and other crucial resources.
Metro's Human Services Ticket Program, which partially subsidizes tickets for human services agencies to distribute, launched 25 years ago after ongoing public demonstrations by the agencies and their clients. And in September, ongoing organizing once again motivated King County Council to unanimously move to strengthen the program.
Katie Wilson of Seattle's Transit Riders Union explains in the Seattle Transit Blog that rising housing costs and homelessness rates have drastically increased the need for tickets. But a cap on allocations has limited the number of tickets available, and fare increases have made even the discounted price too much for some organizations.
The problem may have continued to get worse, Wilson writes, if not for a dedicated grassroots effort to get the Council to address it. Now, Metro will raise the cap on ticket allocations and cut the price of tickets in half, as well as collaborate with other county stakeholders to fulfill "transit’s role in contributing to the social safety net for the lowest income residents."
In addition to more comprehensive local measures, Wilson turns an eye to big-picture solutions like taking on the State Legislature and integrating the region's transit system—noting:
Many of the hundreds of low-income people who have participated in struggles for affordable transit would love to take on these broader transformative issues, if only they didn’t have to be more immediately concerned about getting from A to B.
Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape
Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
Oregon Town Seeks Funding for Ambitious Resilience Plan
Like other rural communities, Grants Pass is eager to access federal funding aimed at sustainability initiatives, but faces challenges when it comes to meeting grant requirements.
How Infrastructure Communicates Values
The presence and quality of sidewalks, curb cuts, and other basic elements of infrastructure can speak to much more than just economic decisions.
Despite High Ridership, Intercity Bus Lines Are Eliminating Stations
Riders on the ‘forgotten stepchild’ of the U.S. transportation system find themselves waiting for buses curbside as Greyhound sells off its real estate in many U.S. cities.
Buffalo Residents Push Back on Proposed Cap Park
State and local officials say the $1 billion project will heal neighborhoods divided by the Kensington Expressway, but community members say the proposed plan will exacerbate already poor air quality in the area.
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.